Auto rickshaw drivers in Panchkula, whose vehicles run on CNG, are in a fix — there are no CNG stations in the city and going to the neighbouring Chandigarh for fuel means violating rules.
Panchkula has as many as 5602 auto rickshaws registered with the Regional Transport Office of the city and many of them run on CNG. To refill their vehicles with fuel, these autos have to enter Chandigarh, which has CNG stations in Sector 17, Sector 34 and Sector 39.
However, Haryana-registered auto rickshaws are not allowed to enter Chandigarh for ferrying passengers. Merely 500 auto rickshaws registered with Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) in Mohali, are allowed to enter Chandigarh.
District Food & Supply Controller of Panchkula, Neeraj Sharma, who is in charge of the department, did confirm the absence of a CNG station in the district while adding he would make further details available only on Monday as he has recently been transferred.
Narendar Chawaria, a worker of the Auto Union of Panchkula, told to Newsline, “Of the total number of 5602 registered autos, many have taken their vehicles to other parts of the state. Roughly 3,000 autos still ply in Panchkula. Many of these still run on diesel, while around 500 auto have opted CNG. Now they have to go to Chandigarh at late night or early morning to avoid heavy fines.”
Chandigarh State Transport Authority (STA) Chandigarh, officials have been taken up the issue of absence of any CNG station with the Panchkula administration for several months.
An STA official in Chandigarh said, “Panchkula-registered auto rickshaws enter Chandigarh claiming they have come to CNG stations, but they are found ferrying the passengers in the city. Once a CNG station comes up in Panchkula, Chandigarh will definitely be benefited.”
The officials of STA Chandigarh, have stopped giving out permits to autos as their capacity is already full with around 4500 auto permits already given. “We do not give out permits even to Chandigarh autos now,” said the official.
Chandigarh Police said they “do not have an option” other than challaning these auto drivers, even if their problem is genuine.
Charanjeet Singh, DSP Traffic, Chandigarh, said, “We can’t let the autos which do not have a prior permit enter the UT. We have to work according to the rules. A challan for Rs 3,000 is issued against such auto drivers who enter Chandigarh.”
The lack of CNG stations has dissuaded many of the drivers, to convert their autos from diesel to CNG — diesel autos are still legal in Panchkula.